Grade 4 Reading Comprehension Sample Selections and Items Test Information Document

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1 Grade 4 Reading Comprehension Sample Selections and Items Test Information Document

2 Copyright 2005 by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction This publication and the information contained within must not be used for personal or financial gain. North Carolina LEA school officials and teachers, parents, and students may download and duplicate this publication for instructional and educational purposes only. Others may not duplicate this publication without prior written permission from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) Division of Accountability Services/North Carolina Testing Program. In compliance with federal laws, North Carolina Public Schools administers all state-operated educational programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination because of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, color, age, military service, disability, or gender, except where exemption is appropriate and allowed by law. Inquiries or complaints should be directed to: Dr. Elsie C. Leak, Associate Superintendent Office of Curriculum and School Reform Services 6307 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC Telephone (919) ; fax (919)

3 Table of Contents Introduction...2 Sample Selections and Items...3 General Test Information...4 Categories...5 Sample Item Types by Category...6 Category Links to Goals and Objectives...7 Thinking Skills: Levels of Thinking and Reasoning...9 Grade 4 Reading Comprehension Goals and Objectives...10 Grade 4 Reading Comprehension Test Information Sheet...14 i

4 Introduction The sample selections and items available on this web site were developed for the North Carolina Endof-Grade Tests of Reading Comprehension and are aligned to the 1999 North Carolina English Language Arts Standard Course of Study. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) has chosen to release this group of items so that North Carolina students, teachers, parents, and administrators may have access to items similar to those that appear on the EOG tests aligned to the 1999 North Carolina English Language Arts Standard Course of Study (tests administered during the school year and beyond). These materials and the information contained within this document must not be used for personal or financial gain. North Carolina LEA school officials and teachers, parents, and students may use these materials for instructional and educational purposes only including the production of Braille and largeprint versions of the material, which cannot be provided by the NCDPI. Some additional selections and items are available in a publication entitled The North Carolina Reading Comprehension Sample Selections and Items available from NCDPI Publications. The North Carolina Reading Comprehension Sample Selections and Items publication contains all of the selections available on this web site and additional selections for which the NCDPI was able to obtain print permission only. Ordering information is available on their web site at You can also get to the publications web page by going to the main NCDPI web site at and selecting the Publication Sales link. 2

5 Sample Selections and Items The following set of selections and items is organized by selection type: fiction, literary nonfiction, drama, poetry, informational content, or informational consumer. Following each selection and set of items is an answer key for the items. The answer key includes the selection title, question number, correct answer, category, thinking skill, and curriculum objective assessed for each item. The sample selections and items can be found at Category Each item on the end-of-grade test is designed to measure an aspect of reading comprehension that is grouped into one of four categories: cognition, interpretation, critical stance, or connections. The test is organized by category, and each test form has a similar percentage of items in each category. More information about the categories can be found on page 5. Thinking Skill Each test item is aligned to a thinking skill from the thinking skills framework used by the NCDPI. This framework is adapted from Dimensions of Thinking: A Framework for Curriculum and Instruction by Robert Marzano, et al. A brief description of the thinking skills is provided below. More information about the thinking skills framework can be found on page 9 of this document and on the NCDPI web site at 1. Knowledge: focusing, information-gathering, and remembering skills 2. Organizing: arranging information so it can be used effectively 3. Applying: demonstrating prior knowledge within a new situation 4. Analyzing: clarifying existing information by examining parts and relationships 5. Generating: producing new information, meaning, or ideas 6. Integrating: connecting and combining information 7. Evaluating: assessing the reasonableness and quality of ideas Curriculum Objective Each item on the end-of-grade test is aligned to a curriculum objective from the North Carolina English Language Arts Standard Course of Study. A chart showing the link between the curriculum objectives and the testing categories can be found on page 7. The complete North Carolina Standard Course of Study for English Language Arts can be found on page 10 of this document and on the NCDPI web site at 3

6 General Test Information The North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Reading Comprehension Grade 4 measures reading comprehension across the curriculum. The test focuses on competency objectives from Goals 1 3 in the Grade 4 English Language Arts Standard Course of Study. This multiple-choice test is designed to assess growth in reading comprehension for the current year. The student s end-of-grade test score from the prior grade is used to estimate the student s level of knowledge and skills at the beginning of the current grade and helps determine the student s amount of growth during the current school year. Testing Window Test Administration Time Number of Items Number of Reading Selections Reading Selection Types Categories Objectives Thinking Skills The end-of-grade tests are administered in the last three weeks of the school year. The LEA determines the specific administration dates and times. 115 minutes 50 items 8 selections 5 Literary Selections (2 fiction, 1 nonfiction, 1 drama, 1 poem) 3 Informational Selections (2 content, 1 consumer) A variety of selections allows for assessment of reading for various purposes: To experience literature To gain information To perform tasks To apply critical analysis and evaluation Each item on the end-of-grade test is designed to measure an aspect of reading comprehension that is grouped into one of four categories: cognition, interpretation, critical stance, or connections. The test is organized by category, with each form having a similar percentage of items in each category. More information on the categories is provided on pages 5 8. Each item on the end-of-grade tests is aligned to a curriculum objective from the North Carolina English Language Arts Standard Course of Study. See page 7 for a list of the tested objectives and their link to the categories. The comprehensive list of grade 4 curriculum objectives begins on page 10. Each test item is aligned to a thinking skill from the thinking skills framework used by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This framework is adapted from Dimensions of Thinking by Robert Marzano, et al. A copy of the thinking skills and brief explanations of each are provided on page 9. The Grade 4 Test Information Sheet is provided on page 14. This document provides summary information about the test in a format that is easily distributed. Test information sheets for all grade levels can also be found at the NCDPI web site at 4

7 Categories The items on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Tests of Reading Comprehension are organized by category. Each form has a similar percentage of items in each category. The categories were developed as a way to organize the reading comprehension competencies described in the North Carolina English Language Arts Standard Course of Study in a structure that is consistent from grades 2 8. This consistent structure is useful for test construction purposes and does not change or add to the content of the North Carolina English Language Arts Standard Course of Study. A description of each category and the average percentage of items per category for the tests at grade 4 are shown in the table below. Category Description Cognition refers to the initial strategies a reader uses to understand the selection. examines the purpose and organization of the selection. considers the text as a whole or in a broad perspective. includes strategies such as using context clues to determine meaning or summarizing to include main points. includes literal understanding of text. Interpretation requires the student to develop a more complete understanding. asks students to clarify, to explain the significance of, to extend, and/or to adapt ideas/concepts. Critical Stance asks the student to stand apart from the selection and consider it objectively. involves processes such as comparing/contrasting and understanding the impact of literary elements. Connections refers to connecting knowledge from the selection with other information and experiences. requires the student to relate the selection to events beyond/outside the selection. requires the student to make associations outside the selection and between selections. Average Percentage of Items Per Form Grade 4 38% 39% 18% 5% 5

8 Sample Item Types by Category The table below provides examples of the types of items and specific sample items that fit into each category type. Please note that this list is not comprehensive. It is intended to clarify the meaning of each category; it is not intended to be a complete list of item types or sample items. Cognition Interpretation Critical Stance Connections Sample Item Types This list provides examples of the types of items found in each category to help educators understand the meaning of each category. Additional item types will be developed for each test. Identify initial strategies the reader uses to understand text Demonstrate basic reading comprehension Identify the purpose/organization of the text Use context clues to determine meaning of vocabulary words Summarize and include main points Identify main idea and/or purpose Identify the main problem Identify the point of view Clarify Explain the significance of something Identify the tone/mood of the selection Demonstrate a more complete (than cognition) understanding (What is the meaning of X phrase/statement by Joe?) Make inferences/conclusions/ generalizations Explain the interrelationship of parts Compare/contrast within the selection Stand apart from the text and consider it objectively Distinguish between fact and opinion Analyze literary terms and their impact on a selection Describe the author s craft and the placement of/usefulness of/relevance of/quality of information Complete analogies when all relationships are found in the text Compare/contrast between selections and outside of the selection Connecting elements in the text to information outside of the text Analogies: initial relationship from text, others from outside experience Sample Items This list provides examples only. Additional items appropriate for each category and curriculum level will be developed for each test. What is the main idea of the selection? Based on the context of paragraph 3, what does XXX mean? (vocabulary in context) What is the purpose of the first subheading in the selection? Which characteristic best describes Joe? (Answer is clearly stated in the selection.) What is the significance of Joe s decision to buy the bicycle? What is the tone/mood of the selection? Based on the selection, what will most likely happen next? Which characteristic best describes Joe? (Answer is not clearly stated in the selection.) How is X different from Y? How does Joe change from the beginning to the end of the selection? What is the effect of beginning the selection with? What is ironic about X? The author wrote XYZ in capital letters to emphasize which quality? What effect is created by the author s repetition of the words XYZ? Which experience is most similar to Joe s experience in the selection? How would this experience help Joe the next time he buys a bicycle? People who play this game are most likely to have which of the following characteristics? 6

9 Category Links to Goals and Objectives Although each item on the North Carolina Reading Comprehension End-of-Grade (EOG) Test is grouped into a particular category, it is aligned to an objective from the North Carolina English Language Arts Standard Course of Study. To facilitate an understanding of the link between the objectives in the North Carolina English Language Arts Standard Course of Study Grade 4 and the individual categories, objectives 1 3 for grade 4 are listed below. The category connections are indicated in columns beside each objective. The objective addresses skills or concepts related to the category indicated. The objective addresses skills and concepts that are not directly related to the category indicated. English Language Arts, Grade 4 Goals 1, 2, 3 Competency Goal 1: The learner will apply enabling strategies and skills to read and write Use word identification strategies appropriately and automatically when encountering unknown words Infer word meanings from taught roots, prefixes, and suffixes to decode words in text to assist comprehension Identify key words and discover their meanings and relationships through a variety of strategies Increase reading and writing vocabulary Use word reference materials to identify and comprehend unknown words Read independently daily from self-selected materials. Competency Goal 2: The learner will apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed Use metacognitive strategies to comprehend text and to clarify meaning of vocabulary Interact with the text before, during, and after reading, listening, or viewing by setting a purpose using prior knowledge and text information, making predictions, formulating questions, locating relevant information, and making connections with previous experiences, information, and ideas Read a variety of texts including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama Identify and interpret elements of fiction and nonfiction and support by referencing the text to determine the plot, theme, main idea and author s choice of words Make inferences, draw conclusions, make generalizations, and support by referencing the text. Cognition Interpretation Critical Stance Connections 7

10 English Language Arts, Grade 4 Goals 1, 2, Summarize major points of fiction and nonfiction text(s) to clarify and retain information and ideas Determine usefulness of information and ideas consistent with purpose Verify the meaning or accuracy of the author s statement(s) by referencing the text or other resources Listen actively. Competency Goal 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology Respond to fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama using interpretive, critical, and evaluative processes Analyze characters, events, and plots from different selections and cite supporting evidence Consider the ways language and visuals bring characters to life, enhance plot development, and produce a response Make informed judgments about television and film/video productions Integrate information from two or more sources to expand understanding of text Conduct research for assigned or self-selected projects (with assistance) from a variety of sources through the use of technological and informal tools. Cognition Interpretation Critical Stance Connections 8

11 Thinking Skills: Levels of Thinking and Reasoning In the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, the levels of thinking and reasoning are classified using the following seven levels. The North Carolina Testing Program uses these levels to identify the thinking and reasoning required by each test item. Verbs that are likely to be used in questions and directions related to these classifications are included below. Knowing Defining problems: clarifying needs, discrepancies, or puzzling situations Setting goals: establishing direction and purpose Observing: obtaining information through one or more senses Formulating questions: seeking new information through inquiry Encoding: storing information in long-term memory Recalling: retrieving information from long-term memory Useful Verbs: list, name, label, recall, identify, match, choose Organizing Arranging information so it can be used effectively Comparing: noting similarities and differences between or among entities Classifying: grouping and labeling entities on the basis of their attributes Ordering: sequencing entities according to a given criterion Representing: changing the form but not the substance of information Useful Verbs: categorize, group, classify, compare, contrast Applying Demonstrating prior knowledge within a new situation. The task is to bring together the appropriate information, generalizations or principles that are required to solve a problem. Useful Verbs: apply, make, show, record, construct, demonstrate, illustrate Analyzing Clarifying existing information by examining parts and relationships Identifying attributes and components: determining characteristics or parts of something Identifying relationships and patterns: recognizing ways in which elements are related Identifying main idea: identifying the central element; for example, the hierarchy of key ideas in a message or line of reasoning Identifying errors: recognizing logical fallacies and other mistakes and, where possible, correcting them Useful Verbs: outline, diagram, differentiate, analyze Generating Producing new information, meaning, or ideas Inferring: going beyond available information to identify what reasonably may be true Predicting: anticipating next events, or the outcome of a situation Elaborating: explaining by adding details, examples, or other relevant information Useful Verbs: conclude, predict, explain, elaborate, infer Integrating Connecting and combining information Summarizing: combining information efficiently into a cohesive statement Restructuring: changing existing knowledge structures to incorporate new information Useful Verbs: combine, summarize, design, imagine, generalize Evaluating Assessing the reasonableness and quality of ideas Establishing criteria: setting standards for making judgments Verifying: confirming the accuracy of claims Useful Verbs: judge, evaluate, rate, verify, assess, define criteria 9

12 Grade 4 Reading Comprehension Goals and Objectives The following curriculum information contains the full text of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for Fourth Grade approved in The complete K 12 curriculum document can be found on the NCDPI web site at Students in fourth grade apply reading strategies and skills automatically, flexibly, and strategically to comprehend fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. They read for literary experience, to gain information, and to perform a task. They use a variety of strategies and writing process elements to compose fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. They become increasingly proficient in active listening, speaking, and using media and technology. They deepen and extend their understanding and use of English language conventions in oral presentations and written products. The learner will: Explore a wide range of texts and their distinguishing features. Expand vocabulary through wide reading, word study, exposure to content area words, and discussion. Routinely spell high frequency words and use resources to check spelling. Write for a variety of purposes and audiences and use writing as a tool for learning. Communicate effectively with different audiences through spoken, written, and visual formats. Use media and technological resources for research and as tools for learning. Use increasingly sophisticated knowledge of grammar and language conventions in oral and written products and presentations. Apply comprehension strategies critically, creatively, and strategically. Competency Goal 1 The learner will apply enabling strategies and skills to read and write Use word identification strategies appropriately and automatically when encountering unknown words (graphophonic, syntactic, semantic) Infer word meanings from taught roots, prefixes, and suffixes to decode words in text to assist comprehension Identify key words and discover their meanings and relationships through a variety of strategies Increase reading and writing vocabulary through: wide reading. word study. knowledge of homophones, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms. knowledge of multiple meanings of words. writing process elements. writing as a tool for learning. seminars. book clubs. discussions. examining the author s craft. 10

13 1.05 Use word reference materials (e.g., glossary, dictionary, thesaurus) to identify and comprehend unknown words Read independently daily from self-selected materials (consistent with the student s independent reading level) to: increase fluency. build background knowledge. expand vocabulary. Competency Goal 2 The learner will apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed Use metacognitive strategies to comprehend text and to clarify meaning of vocabulary (e.g., reread the text, consult other sources, ask for help, paraphrase, question) Interact with the text before, during, and after reading, listening, and viewing by: setting a purpose using prior knowledge and text information. making predictions. formulating questions. locating relevant information. making connections with previous experiences, information, and ideas Read a variety of texts, including: fiction (legends, novels, folklore, science fiction). nonfiction (autobiographies, informational books, diaries, journals). poetry (concrete, haiku). drama (skits, plays) Identify and interpret elements of fiction and nonfiction and support by referencing the text to determine the: plot. theme. main idea and supporting details. author s choice of words Make inferences, draw conclusions, make generalizations, and support by referencing the text Summarize major points from fiction and nonfiction text(s) to clarify and retain information and ideas Determine usefulness of information and ideas consistent with purpose Verify the meaning or accuracy of the author s statement(s) by referencing the text or other resources Listen actively by: asking questions. paraphrasing what was said. interpreting speaker s verbal and non-verbal messages. interpreting speaker s purposes and/or intent. 11

14 Competency Goal 3 The learner will make connections with text through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology Respond to fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama using interpretive, critical, and evaluative processes by: analyzing the impact of authors word choice and context. examining the reasons for characters actions. identifying and examining characters motives. considering a situation or problem from different characters points of view Analyze characters, events, and plots from different selections and cite supporting evidence Consider the ways language and visuals bring characters to life, enhance plot development, and produce a response Make informed judgments about television and film/video productions Integrate information from two or more sources to expand understanding of text Conduct research for assigned projects or self-selected projects (with assistance) from a variety of sources through the use of technological and informal tools (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people, libraries, databases, computer networks). Competency Goal 4 The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts Read aloud grade-appropriate text with fluency, comprehension, and expression demonstrating an awareness of volume and pace Use oral and written language to: present information and ideas in a clear, concise manner. discuss. interview. solve problems. make decisions Make oral and written presentations using visual aids with an awareness of purpose and audience Share self-selected texts from a variety of genres (e.g., poetry, letters, narratives, essays, presentations) Use planning strategies to generate topics and organize ideas (e.g., brainstorming, mapping, webbing, reading, discussion) Compose a draft that conveys major ideas and maintains focus on the topic with specific, relevant, supporting details by using preliminary plans Compose fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama using self-selected and assigned topics and forms (e.g., personal and imaginative narratives, research reports, diaries, journals, logs, rules, instructions). 12

15 4.08 Focus revision on a specific element such as: word choice. sequence of events and ideas. transitional words. sentence patterns Produce work that follows the conventions of particular genres (e.g., personal and imaginative narrative, research reports, learning logs, letters of request, letters of complaint) Use technology as a tool to gather, organize, and present information. Competency Goal 5 The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively Use correct capitalization (e.g., names of languages, nationalities, musical compositions) and punctuation (e.g., commas in a series, commas in direct address, commas and quotation marks in dialogue, apostrophes in possessives) Demonstrate understanding in speaking and writing by appropriate usage of: pronouns. subject/verb agreement. verb tense consistency. subject consistency Elaborate information and ideas in writing and speaking by using: simple and compound sentences. regular and irregular verbs. adverbs. prepositions. coordinating conjunctions Compose multiple paragraphs with: topic sentences. specific, relevant details. logical progression and movement of ideas. coherence. elaboration. concluding statement related to the topic Use visual (orthography) and meaning-based strategies as primary sources for correct spelling Proofread and correct most misspellings independently with reference to resources (e.g., dictionaries, thesauri, glossaries, computer spell-checks, and other classroom sources) Use established criteria to edit for language conventions and format Demonstrate evidence of language cohesion by: logical sequence of fiction and nonfiction retells. time order sequence of events. sustaining conversations on a topic Create readable documents through legible handwriting and/or word processing. 13

16 Grade 4 Test Information Sheet North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Reading Comprehension Grade 4 What are the purposes of the NC Testing Program? What is measured by the test? The North Carolina End-of-Grade Tests are required by General Statute 115C as a component of the North Carolina Annual Testing Program. As stated, the purposes of North Carolina state-mandated tests are (i) to assure that all high school graduates possess those minimum skills and that knowledge thought necessary to function as a member of society; (ii) to provide a means of identifying strengths and weaknesses in the education process in order to improve instructional delivery; and (iii) to establish additional means for making the education system at the State, local, and school levels accountable to the public for results. This test is one component of the end-of-grade tests, which include reading comprehension and mathematics tests in grades three through eight. Students in grade three began taking a reading comprehension and mathematics pretest in the fall of For school, school system, and state accountability, the scores from the end-of-grade tests at the prior grade are used to estimate a student s level of knowledge and skills at the beginning of the new grade to determine the amount of growth during the school year (calculated from the difference between the two sets of test scores). The end-of-grade reading test for grade four assesses the reading components of the grade four North Carolina Standard Course of Study. The test consists of eight reading selections with three to nine associated questions for each selection. Each student is asked to read five literary selections (two fiction, one nonfiction, one drama, one poem) and three informational selections (two content and one consumer). The variety of selections on each form allows for the assessment of reading for various purposes: for literary experience, to gain information, and to perform a task. The end-of-grade tests are organized by category, with each item falling into one of four categories: cognition, interpretation, critical stance, or connections. A description of each category and the average percentage of items per form for each category are shown in the table below. Each item is also aligned to a curriculum objective from the North Carolina English Language Arts Standard Course of Study. Descriptive Information for the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Reading Comprehension Grade 4 Category Description of Category Average Percentage Cognition Interpretation Critical Stance Connections Refers to the initial strategies a reader uses to understand the selection. It is about purpose and organization of the selection. It considers the text as a whole or in a broad perspective. Cognition includes strategies such as using context clues to determine meaning or summarizing to include main points. It also includes literal comprehension of text. Requires the student to develop a more complete understanding. It may ask students to clarify, to explain the significance of, to extend, and/or to adapt ideas/concepts. Refers to tasks that ask the student to stand apart from the selection and consider it objectively. It involves processes such as comparing/contrasting and understanding the impact of literary elements. Refers to connecting knowledge from the selection with other information and experiences. It involves the student being able to relate the selection to events beyond/outside the selection. In addition, the student will make associations outside the selection and between selections. 38% 39% 18% 5% 14

17 How is the test administered? How was the test developed? What kinds of scores do students receive on the test? The North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Reading Comprehension at grade four consists of 50 multiplechoice questions administered during a 115-minute block within the last three weeks of school. Three equivalent forms are administered in each classroom to provide information for curriculum evaluation and planning. The tests are scanned and scored by the local education agency with software provided by the NCDPI. Reports of student performance are produced locally. In addition, test scores are aggregated at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to fulfill the state and federal reporting requirements for the accountability programs. The reading selections were chosen by North Carolina educators to reflect the variety of reading done by students at this level in and out of school and to ensure accessibility to a majority of students. Those chosen are selections that would generally be read by students, would be interesting to the students, and have appropriate content for a reading comprehension test at this grade level. The questions for each selection were written and reviewed by trained North Carolina teachers and educators during the and school years and were field tested in the spring of Each field test question was administered to approximately 1,300 students from randomly selected schools across the state. The grade four reading test was implemented statewide for the first time in the spring of The scores on the end-of-grade reading test are reported on a developmental scale, which allows the measurement of growth in achievement across the grade levels. On the grade four reading test, the scale scores range from The use of scale scores provides for easier and more consistent interpretations of the results from test to test. Achievement levels are also generated to provide an interpretation of student performance relative to a predetermined standard. Student scores are converted to one of the four achievement level categories shown below. In addition, student scores are reported as percentile ranks, which are generated from a statewide distribution of students who took the test during the first year the test was administered or the norming year. Achievement Levels for the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Reading Comprehension Grade 4 Scale Score Level Description Range Students performing at this level do not have sufficient mastery of knowledge and skills in this subject area to be successful at the next grade level. Students performing at this level demonstrate inconsistent mastery of knowledge and skills in this subject area and are minimally prepared to be successful at the next grade level. Students performing at this level consistently demonstrate mastery of grade level subject matter and skills and are well prepared for the next grade level. Students performing at this level consistently perform in a superior manner clearly beyond that required to be proficient at grade level work

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